Coventry & Warwickshire

Warwick MP says funding must be kept for debt help

A Warwick MP is warning that people's debt problems could get worse if proper debt advice is not maintained.

From March, the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) will no longer get Whitehall funding for specialist debt advisors.

Conservative MP for Warwick and Leamington Chris White told the Commons on Tuesday that the consequences could be devastating.

He said: "People's problems will not go away merely because we stop funding help for them."

Speaking during a debate about independent debt advice he said: "Such problems will get worse, until the point when the state has to intervene in more expensive and intrusive ways.

'Short-term saving'

"We are talking about a short-term saving at long-term expense."

He said in 2010 Warwickshire Citizens Advice Bureaux helped nearly 26,000 people and resolved more than 92,000 problems.

He added nearly 300 local people gave up their time to help Warwickshire CAB and they generated unpaid work worth nearly £1m.

"We simply cannot afford to lose that service," he said.

"Reductions in funding will damage Citizens Advice Bureaux across the country, particularly in south Warwickshire."

Appropriate help

In response to Mr White's comments John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, Business, Innovation and Skills, said he wanted to make sure people who could repay debt did so.

He added he also wanted to ensure those who cannot pay get "appropriate debt relief".

"Debtors and creditors should benefit from a system that is clearer about expectations and provides good advice in advance," he said.

He added: "We want to see empowered debtors accessing good quality preventive advice, as well as advice to deal with debt, to ensure that the most appropriate solutions are found for the debtor's particular difficulty."

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